Thursday, March 16, 2006

NYT: Esther is "Almost Certainly False, a Fantasy"

Above: The Tomb of Esther and Mordechai in the Iranian province of Hamadan (formally known as Shushan) to this day is still revered by Iranians. Yet the NYT boldly claims the Purim story is a false fantasy.

The grey rag, The New York Times prints an opinion piece that claims Purim never happened.

“The Purim story is suspenseful, ribald, comic and almost certainly false, a fantasy of revenge and redemption. Scholars generally agree that it is a pseudo-history introduced into Judaism about 2,400 years ago, at a time when the memory of Jerusalem's conquest by the Babylonians was still laying Jews low.”

Almost certainly false?

Of course Goldberg, the author, fails to even name one such “scholar.” That said Wikipedia suggests (after a fierce and vigorous debate and “edit war”) that there are indeed many (mostly modern) scholars that do believe it is false. It also states that this remains quite debatable – something Goldberg conveniently forgets to mention in his piece. And there are plenty of scholars that argue, with strong supporting evidence, that the historicity of Megillat Esther is completely authentic. Gil Student of Hirhurim fame produced a fantastic compilation of such sources on the Aishdas website.

Here is Student's bottom line:

Gordis summarizes the various lines in favor of the historicity of Esther by concluding, "all in all, the case for the historical basis for the book is impressive." Moore admits, "on the face of it, the story seems to be true... Nothing in the book seems improbable, let alone unbelievable." If this is the case, and if the alleged historical problems are not insoluble, then it would seem preferable to take the book at face value as a historical narrative rather than to resort to subjective and highly speculative reconstructions. Scholars such as Wright, Shea, and Claus Schedl have indeed argues [sic.] for such a view. (Yamauchi, p. 239)

Furthermore Iranian history itself indicates the "modern scholars" are dead wrong.

“Not only was Esther a Jewish queen, but, as the wife of King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I), she also continues to be revered as a Persian queen and, thus, an icon of national Iranian history,” reports Helen Eliassian in The Forward.

Almost certainly false?

Once again the New York Times is almost certainly wrong.


Blogger Jewish Blogmeister said...

What does one expect of self-hating Jews?

6:34 PM  
Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Here is something else to consider

6:52 AM  

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